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The cat that swallowed the canary

Posted by Masakim on March 05, 2003

In Reply to: The cat that swallowed the canary posted by S.Ryan on March 05, 2003

: : : What does the phrase "the cat that swallowed the canary" mean exactly?

: : I haven't heard this one before, but I suspect it is meant to describe someone who is very pleased and smug because he's got what he wanted. I think it might be similar to "the cat that got the cream". It would help if you could use the expression in context.

: : You are right on the money! It is a commonly used expression in these parts.

look like the cat that ate the canary
Also, look like the cat that swallowed the canary.
Appear smug and self-satisfied.
For example, "After she hit her third winning shot, Jeannie looked like the cat that ate the canary.
[Second half of 1800s]
From _The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms_ by Christine Ammer

QUOTATION: That's what the cat said to the canary when he swallowed him: "You'll be all right."
ATTRIBUTION: Alvah Bessie, Ranald MacDougall, and Lester Cole. Raoul Walsh. Mr. Williams (Henry Hull), Objective Burma, having been assured he'll be "all right" on his first parachute jump .
From _The Columbia World of Quotations_